Despite the efforts of legislators and activists to prevent alcohol-impaired driving, it remains one of the top causes of fatal traffic accidents in the US. More than 17,000 people die each year from motor vehicle crashes that are related to drinking and driving. During this period, more than 7,500 people suffer serious injuries. While drunk driving is a widespread problem, there are several things that you can do to keep yourself safe.
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Drunk driving is illegal in all 50 states. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1 million drivers are arrested each year for DUI. Among the people charged with DUI, nearly one-quarter are repeat offenders. When you are caught driving while intoxicated, you will be subject to criminal charges and be forced to pay compensation to the victims.
Alcohol-related fatal car crashes are twice as likely to occur on weekends. Eight percent of alcohol-related fatal crashes occurred in rainy conditions. During the summer months, there was a significant increase in the number of fatal crashes. During the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer,” which spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day, there were an average of seven alcohol-related crashes per day. In addition to the increase in fatal crashes, the number of accidents involving drunk drivers also increased.
During the past three years, more than 1.8 million people were convicted of drunk driving. Compared to the national average, convicted drunk drivers were four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes.
In the past three years, the NHTSA estimated that more than 10,000 people died from alcohol-related traffic accidents. Of those deaths, 87 percent of the drunk driving crashes were on non-interstate roads, 13 percent on interstate roads, and 3 percent on other roadways. In addition, 56 percent of drunk-related fatal crashes took place in urban areas.
The age group that has the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes is 25-34-year-olds. More than half of the total number of people convicted of drunk driving during the past three years were between the ages of 16 and 24. In addition to these high rates of conviction, drivers in this age group were more than 1.5 times more likely to be legally impaired than the national average in 2019.
Drivers under the age of 21 are at an especially high risk of being involved in a fatal crash. This age group has the highest rate of intoxication, and they were responsible for one-quarter of all alcohol-related traffic deaths in the U.S. In 2017, 2,000 college students under the age of twenty-five died from alcohol-related injuries. The highest numbers of fatal crashes involving alcohol were during the night when more than two-thirds of all fatal crashes took place. The likelihood of intoxication also varies by gender and time of day.
Overall, the number of people killed each year due to drunk driving is less than the amount that died in the past five decades. However, the number of people injured has risen. A total of 10,511 people were killed in drunk driving crashes in 2018.